MacroH2As regulate enhancer-promoter contacts affecting enhancer activity and sensitivity to inflammatory cytokines

Corujo D; Malinverni R; Carrillo-Reixach J; Meers O; Garcia-Jaraquemada A; Le Pannérer MM; Valero V; Pérez A; Del Río-Álvarez Á; Royo L; Pérez-González B; Raurell H; Acemel RD; Santos-Pereira JM; Garrido-Pontnou M; Gómez-Skarmeta JL; Pasquali L; Manyé J; Armengol C; Buschbeck M.


MacroH2A histone variants have a function in gene regulation that is poorly understood at the molecular level. We report that macroH2A1.2 and macroH2A2 modulate the transcriptional ground state of cancer cells and how they respond to inflammatory cytokines. Removal of macroH2A1.2 and macroH2A2 in hepatoblastoma cells affects the contact frequency of promoters and distal enhancers coinciding with changes in enhancer activity or preceding them in response to the cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha. Although macroH2As regulate genes in both directions, they globally facilitate the nuclear factor kB (NF-kB)-mediated response. In contrast, macroH2As suppress the response to the pro-inflammatory cytokine interferon gamma. MacroH2A2 has a stronger contribution to gene repression than macroH2A1.2. Taken together, our results suggest that macroH2As have a role in regulating the response of cancer cells to inflammatory signals on the level of chromatin structure. This is likely relevant for the interaction of cancer cells with immune cells of their microenvironment.

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